The foreign policy of Saudi Arabia

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Political Science ・APA ・6 Sources

Saudi Arabia's monarchy is dominated by the royal family, which incorporates both the administrative and legislative roles of the judiciary. The king is both the prime minister and the leader of the ministerial council. In all the important matters concerning the government, he, therefore, has the final say (Al-Atawneh, 2009). The vast numbers of royal family members have made it easier for the family to gain a charge of the country's key offices, thereby making major decisions. In maintaining a peaceful and beneficial relationship with the international community, foreign policy is an essential entity in every world. This paper will focus on the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia and some of the principles behind the policy.

Saudi Arabia’s policy

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy is based on many principals that include, religious, economic, historical, political and geographical relationship with international allies. The foreign policy is shaped with primary frameworks, and the most important ones are; non-involvement in the internal affairs of other countries, safe neighborhood, strong relationship with countries in the Gulf regions, Arab and Islamic nations and Arabian peninsula to serve the common interest of those nations in addition to advocating for their issues. It is further aimed at adopting a non-alignment policy with any state, building cooperation with friendly countries and play a role in regional and international organizations. The Saudi Arabian policy is segmented into different circles like Gulf, Islamic, Arab and international circles.

Gulf circle

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has paid close attention to the countries within the Gulf region since its formation by its founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman. The Gulf circle has been significant in the Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy due to numerous reasons that include, historical connections, blood relations and unique neighborhood regarding geography. Besides, the countries in the region have similar economic and political systems that bind them together even more.

The foreign policy in the region has been significantly influenced by the kingdom itself and countries in the area since they both have a firm conviction that their similarities and their desire to unify the region. The countries in the area have a unified policy that is essential in the management of defense and security at times of massive conflicts and crisis that affected and surround the Gulf in numerous ways. In the year 981, six leaders of the countries within the Gulf region founded the (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf –GCC). The body was integrated into the organizational framework with the principal aim of integrating the desires of the six Gulf nation in meeting their common yearnings in various field of culture, education, social, economic, security and political issues that are unique to the region.

Principals governing the Gulf circle policies in the Gulf circle

To begin with, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and countries within the Gulf have an agreement that stability and security of the region is a responsibility of all the six member states. The states have the right of upholding their independence and safety in line with their pleasure provided that it is in line with the international law requirements while facing international or internal challenges. The countries have declined to the interferences of the internal problems or affairs of the states in the Gulf by international organization or countries. In the policy, the countries have a framework outing their cooperation and protest against any aggression to any of the member states. In their agreement, aggression to nay of the member states of the Gulf region is similar to attack to all countries. Hence they have to cooperate in deterring the aggression for the sake of security within the area in line with the international laws. The kingdom's policy focuses on building a healthy relationship with the GCC member states in different fields like social, cultural, political, security and economical through consolidating and deepening relationships.

The kingdom also gives room for the coordination of the foreign policies of the member states of the GCC when necessary more so when the region is faced with international or regional momentous problems. The coordination and cooperation of the countries policies in solving local issues were evident when Iraq invaded Kuwait and during the prolonged Iran - Iraq war. The member states came in entirely with the primary aim of mitigating war and the effects of the war on the countries. In a case of disputes with the member states of the GCC, the policy provides for persistent and serious action aimed at solving the issues by good neighborhood and brotherhood principals. Oil, a strategic resource in the economy of the member states, has been given particular attention to the foreign policy of the region whereby the member's states have to integrate their oil policies so as to strengthen the economic stability. The member states have to come up with a unifying economic policy to control the oil industry in the region.

Arab Circle

The kingdom has always paid close attention to the unification of the Arab states in the bid to promote their relationship and stability. Since then Saudi Arabia together with other six Arab states, carried out some meetings to come up with a formula for developing and coordinating the relationship between Arab states with the sole purpose of serving the interstates of the member states. As a result in the year, 1945 Arab countries developed the Arab League and signed a charter.

There is an undeniable connection between Saudi Arabia and Arab nations that cannot be overlooked. The kingdom has been eminent as the place where Islam originated hence playing a vital role in the Islamic nations. The notion that the kingdom is the birthplace of Islam has been emphasized by its different leader right from its founder to his sons who reign to date. While developing its policy, Saudi Arabia focused on the significance of having the Arab solidarity and coordinated working together of the Arab nations to bind together the Arab stands and serves the Arabs interests optimally utilizing the available resources and potentials in the member states. The focuses on realism to avoid overacting as slogans which might affect the Arab world negatively and can bring down the security status of the region. The policy aims at mitigating foreign interference in the internal affairs within the Arab world. In the spirit of brotherhood and strengthening of the relationship with the Arab world, Saudi Arabia is committed to providing assistance and support to the Arab world countries in case they are faced with internal or external challenges that my need their intervention. However, it has to be in line with the discretion of the affected country.  

The Arab unity has faced numerous challenges that have brought it to the verge of division and ranges between the member states. Owing to the good reputation of the kingdom and its affluence the country has been critical in solving problems affecting the Arab world. It has intervened in numerous internal and regional wrangles and has seen tremendous success through it reconciliatory efforts (Kitfield, 2011). Thus is has been mandated with the role of maintaining the Arab world solidarity and working towards meeting the primary goals of the member states. Within the framework of reconciliation, the kingdom has taken the responsibility of solving the Palestinian issues since it the major element if the Saudi Arabia foreign policy and is the primary issues in the Muslims and Arabs. Since the time of King Abdulaziz al-Saudi, the kingdom has taken full responsibility in all international arenas to defend the Palestinian issue (Jones, 2011). The kingdom has devoted herself to ensuring that their fair settlement and solutions to the Palestinian cause hence the unwavering support. All the activities are anchored in the foreign policy of ensuring unity within the Arab world.

Islamic Circle

The kingdom's policy has always been determined by Islam while prioritizing. Since its inception, the Saudi Arabia Kingdom has worked hard devoted herself in trying to solve the myriad of issues that are facing the Islamic world with a primary aim of attaining unity and solidarity within all the Islamic states. The kingdom has worked to ensure that Islam has a religion gains its position and honor that has been eroded by back to back issues that are tainting the reputation of the religion within the Islamic world states.

To achieve solidarity with the Muslim countries the kingdom worked hard towards developing both governmental and non-governmental organization by all the Islamic states. The kingdom successfully rallied behind the various Islamic states to develop the organizations that included the establishment of the Muslim world league in the year 1962 and later on the group of Islamic confrere which was formed in the year 1969. To maintain the grip of the management of this two important organizations, Saudi Arabia ensured that the headquarters were based in the kingdom. All the efforts by the kingdom were aimed at unifying the Islamic world in dealing with various issues affecting the countries. Among the service that the county aimed at providing relief to the Islamic countries in cases of disasters (Nordland, 2013). Solving the numerous disputes between states in the Islamic world. Strengthening the economic growth and ties within the Islamic world. Lastly, it aimed at providing timely aid to the various countries when a disaster struck. Besides, the organization was mandated with the responsibility of developing civilized Islamic centers and building mosques throughout the Islamic world with the primary aim of moral and spiritual support.

International Circle

As the kingdom established itself within the Arab and Islamic world and        Arabic countries, it has also worked towards creating ties with the great world powers. What the kingdom believes in peaceful solution is to various issues that might be affecting it, and other countries thought the world. The kingdom is among the founding nations of the United Nations in the year 1945 following a destructive world war ii which had affected many    European countries. The kingdom has a firm conviction that all the problems facing countries should be dealt with in a just way and promote the development of economic, political and social field among others in the various countries  (De Bel-Air, 2014). The country does not believe in the use of force while carrying out is foreign policy; instead, it believes in utilizing justice and international law to solve its international problems. When the United Nations was formed, many other agencies were formed to take care of the various fields. The kingdom has paid close attention to the various agencies and I a meaner of all the United Nations agencies and believes in following the international law in fostering a growing relationship with other agencies. The Kingdom believes that the United a nations have all that it takes to handle the major international crisis. Thus its involvement in any international crisis comes in through the United Nations.

The policy is aimed at sticking to the international law as they are outlined in the various charters that are signed by the government. However, as much as the kingdom is conforming to the international laws, it has taken the responsibility of fighting for the Arab states and Islamic world in solving the issues through the international justice system (Rice, 2004). It can also support countries from the Gulf, second or third circle through political, diplomatic and economic support. Further, the kingdom is against alignments that thirteen the international peace and security. Saudi Arabia respects the people will and believes that each country has the main role to play in self-defense.

Concisely, the Saudi Arabia foreign policy is based on ensuring that the country develops in various fields ranging from political, economic, security and peace within the Gulf, Islamic states, and the Arab states. So far, the kingdom has managed to stage itself as one of the major reconciliatory in various issues affecting the world today through peaceful means.


Al-Atawneh, M. (2009). Is Saudi Arabia a Theocracy? Religion and Governance in Contemporary Saudi Arabia. Middle Eastern Studies, 45(5), 721–737.

De Bel-Air, F. (2014). Demography, Migration and Labour Market in Saudi Arabia. Gulf Labour Markets and Migration, (No. 1/2014). Retrieved from

Jones, T. (2011). Saudi Arabia versus the Arab spring. RARITAN-A QUARTERLY REVIEW, 31, 43–59. Retrieved from

Kitfield, J. (2011). Saudia Arabia, Iran Reorient Foreign Policy Amid Middle East Unrest of Arab Spring. National Journal, 6. Retrieved from

Nordland, R. (2013). Saudi Arabia Promises to Aid Egypt’s Regime. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Rice, G. (2004). Doing business in Saudi Arabia. Thunderbird International Business Review, 46(1), 59–84.

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